I love playing tourist in New York despite living here all the time. Strangely, I had never been on a boat in the Hudson or East River before this secretly planned trip. We embraced the tourist gaze by taking trip on a Circle Line Cruise around the entire perimeter of Manhattan, going all the way up to the Harlem River and under the recently opened High Bridge and the immensely epic George Washington Bridge (and the little red light house.)
Other highlights on the cruise include: riding out into the harbor with sail boats and the wind, draw bridges on the east river with signs for all the underwater cables and their deathly warning for anchoring, glimpsing a vast subway rail yard at the top of Manhattan, those intrepid kids that mooned us near Roberto Clemente Park with such grace.
It was a surprisingly great change of pace, sparking the nyc-by-boat bug in me. We took another trip, this time by a sail boat, just last night.
Circle Line Best of New York 10 AM, 12 PM and 2 PM Daily
Tip: As a local going tourist, ditch the upper deck where everyone fights for a good seat and stand at the front of the boat which opens after the trip starts. You can't hear the narration as well but your views are better. You may even get splashed.